Solar Panels Installed to Decrease Climbing Utility Costs

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Shelby Johnsen
(406) 585-2587
Spire Climbing Center

Meg Swanson and Jeff Ho have dreamed of utilizing solar energy to cover the utility costs at Spire Climbing Center since it opened its doors in December 2004. Since then, the climbing facility has gone through two large expansions, the most recent expansion tripling its size. The expansion not only added additional climbing space, but also created a larger area that requires additional heating, cooling and lighting. These factors have contributed to the climbing energy costs for the Bozeman business.

Spire Climbing Center offers over 18,000 square feet of indoor climbing and bouldering with ranging difficulty levels, featuring 31 top-rope stations and 39 lead lines. The facility provides the outdoors-oriented community of Bozeman an area to explore and improve climbing techniques year-round. But with such a large space to heat and cool, the energy costs add up quickly.

Spire is using USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) to have a 49.5 kW solar panel system installed on its roof. Utilizing solar energy allows the climbing center to not only save money on its energy usage, but to also live out the owners’ hopes and dreams of making renewable energy part of the daily operations at Spire Climbing Center.

“We want our customers to know they are supporting a business that is sourcing renewable energy and making an effort to protect our environment,” Swanson said. “We hope that our customers feel even better walking through our doors because we are using renewable energy.”

The renewable energy installation will allow Spire to realize approximately $5,531 in annual savings and will conserve 69,136 kWh per year, which is enough energy to power six homes annually. The energy savings will offset 28% of its current energy usage. The installation of  the solar panel system not only helps Spire Climbing Center save money and use less energy, but also live-out its goals to be more environmentally friendly.

Fast Facts

Obligation Amount$24,894
Date of ObligationJune 2017
Congressional DistrictRepresentative Gianforte, At Large
Senator's Last NamesTester and Daines